Joseph Skipsey: 'Songs and Lyrics'

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[Contents]


The Lad of Bebside.


MY heart is away with the lad of Bebside,
And never can I to another be tied;
Not, not to be titled a lord's wedded bride,
Could Jinny abandon the lad of Bebside.

He dances so clever, he whistles so fine,
He's flattered and wooed from the Blyth to the
        Tyne,
Yet spite of the proffers he meets far and wide,
I'm alone the beloved of the lad of Bebside.

He entered our door on the eve of the Fair,
And cracked with our folk in a manner so rare,
Next morning right early with spleen I was eyed
To link to the Fair with the lad of Bebside.

Last night at the dancing, 'mid scores of fine
        queans,
The eldest among them just out of her teens,
He chose me, and truly with pleasure and pride
I footed the jig with the lad of Bebside.

To wed me he's promised, and who can believe
A laddie like him can a lassie deceive?
The moon's on the wane—ere another be spied,
I'll lie in the arms of the lad of Bebside.



_______________________

Meg Goldlocks.


YE'VE heard of Meg Goldlocks of Willington Dene?
The stoniest damsel that ever was seen;
Yet, her beauty distress'd, with its splendour, the rest
Of the lasses for miles around Willington Dene.

Meek Mary of Howdon, with Robin would rove!
But once to the Dene did his merry feet move,
A-jealous of Meg's unmatched beauty, her tongue
Was turned to a bell, and a golden peal rung!

Sweet Nancy of Benton, deemed Willie her own,
Till he went to the Dene on an errand unknown
The errand to her was apparent as day,
And the rose on her dimpled cheek withered away.

Thus matters went on around Willington Dene,
Till East came a gallant and married the quean;
That moment the rest of the lasses were blest,
And their lovers allowed to tread Willington Dene!



_______________________

Lost at the Fair.


LAST night at the Fair did I lose thee, my honey—
    I hunted thee south and I hunted thee north;
I'd rather than lost thee have lost all the money
    That all the great lords in the kingdom are worth.


Heart-sorry in worry in flurry did hurry
    Poor I, like a wild thing alost, here and there;
When merry wee Rosy the jewel, the posy,
    And pride of her Robin, was miss'd at the Fair.


Resolved to discover the fleet-footed rover,
    My way thro' the stalls, shows, and people I
        wound;
But there 'mid mays many, the rarest of any,
    No image like Rose's sweet image was found.


Heart-sorry in worry, etc.


With glee the Inns sounded, with joyance unbounded
    Danced maiden and callant; I into them glanced;
But who was who barely I saw, tho' saw fairly
    That never a Rose with the dancers a-danced.


Heart-sorry in worry, etc.


In search of my honey I spent all my money,
    Then took to the road in a spirit of gloom;
When lo, with my Rosy I met, and the posy
    I kiss'd and I cuddled her all the way home.


Heart-sorry in worry in flurry did hurry
Poor I, like a wild thing alost, here and there;
When merry-eyed Rosy the jewel, the posy,
And pride of her Robin, was miss'd at the Fair.



_______________________

The Bridal Gift.


LAST night at the Fair I met light-footed Polly
    And Nanny from Earsden and bothersome Nell;
And deep blue-eyed Bessy and hazel-eyed Dolly;
    But Rosy for sweetness did bear off the bell.


Not Polly nor Dolly nor coy little Bell;
Not Nanny nor Fanny nor sly little Nell;
Not Bessy nor Jessy is loved half so well
    As Rosy the posy, ah, no!


A scarf did I buy her, with bonny lace laced and
    A gay snowy plume in her bonnet to wear;
A wee broider'd girdle to girdle her waist and
    A comb meet to comb out her long yellow hair.


Not Polly nor Dolly, etc.


A lovely brooch did I buy for her bosom;
    A cream-coloured mantle, a lily-white gown;
A garland o'er all of the pure orange blossom;
    The ring that will make her for ever my own!


Not Polly nor Dolly, etc.


Some gifts to my honey I bought, and had money
    Been mine, I to these had link'd castles and lands;
And Nan, Nell and Polly, and Fan, Bell and Dolly
    Had danced in her train and obeyed her commands!


Not Polly nor Dolly nor coy little Bell;
Not Nanny nor Fanny, nor sly little Nell;
Not Bessy nor Jessy is loved half so well
    As Rosy the posy, ah, no!



_______________________

The Spell.


"LOVE'S a pleasure, love's a treasure,
    Why the joys of love withstand?"
Alf so pleadeth, Effie heedeth . . .
    And what ails the lily-wand?

Lighter grow her airs and lighter;
    Glances she would shun she seeks;
Brighter burn her eyes, and brighter
    Burns the scarlet on her cheeks.

Leaps her heart within her; cheerly
    Smiles the earth in silence girt;
Dance the stars above, and rarely,
    All in concord with her heart.

Redder than the rose a-blowing
    Sinks she in her wooer's arms;
Many a mad, mad vow avowing
    Melt they in each other's charms.

For a season vanished reason
    Vanished to return and view
Loved and lover, now and ever,
    Doom'd the spell of love to rue.



_______________________

Love without Hope.


THE glory of her charms I felt,
    And thro' my frame electric ran
What made my stubborn heart to melt,
    And feel as hearts of passion can;
And from that hour, her eyes of jet,
    And every trait and every hue,
In her delightful being met,
    Pursues me and shall e'er pursue.

A vision bright, a form of light,
    She glides before my inner eyes;
And tho' anear she doth appear,
    In vain for her my bosom sighs;
In vain, in vain, and woe and pain
    Are mine—and woe and pain alone—
Another's arms must fold those charms,
    Which I would give a world to own.

Upon the block with nerve of rock,
    This hour would see my bead reclined,
Could this but show o'er all below
    My image in her heart were shrined;
Yes, yes, for this unequalled bliss,
    Upon the wings of rapture borne,
My soul would cleave the air and leave
    Her mortal bonds asunder torn!

A niche possessed within her breast,
    Ay, more than life I'd value that;
What were it then, could I but strain
    Her to my heart my own? ay, what?
Entranced I feel,—my senses reel,—
    Up in a fiery whirlwind caught
Away, they fly and leave me, ay,
    Half frantic at the very thought.

What would I have, what do I crave?
    What were a sin for me to touch!
Yon radiant star that beams from far,
    Her lustre equals many such;
She's past compare a jewel rare,
    Of value more than crowns can boast;
Whilst I who sigh—ah what am I?
    A wretch who merits scorn at most.

Far, far above my worth and love
    Is she—and were she less divine,
Another's arms would fold her charms,
    And I were destined still to pine;
Thus double doomed to be consumed
    By passion's raging fires, I know
On earth a hell as fierce and fell,
    As aught a future state could show.

Alas! alas! we seldom love
    Where love may equal love obtain;
Our idols in our fancy move,
    Fleet phantoms we may chase in vain;
We either love what's little worth,
    And live to rue the sequel, or,
What never can be ours on earth,
    And so must evermore deplore!



_______________________

The Dance.


MET we in the festal hall,
    Met—our feelings blended!
Love alone shall lead the ball,
    Truth alone shall end it.

Wakes an air, and here and there,
    Soon the dance we tread, when
Ladies bright admire the knight,
    Gallant knights the maiden.

Here and there, an envied pair
    Mid the bright we shimmer;
Cheer right rare responds to cheer,
    Brimmer clinks with brimmer.

Dance we still, and dance we till
    On our vision waneth
Every light that gilds the night,
    And love in triumph reigneth.

Praised by all we left the hall,
    But, within us ever,
Rapture's self still lead a ball
    Peace should end—ah! never.



_______________________

Lo, a Fairy.


O, a fairy on a day
Came and bore my heart away;
But as she secured her prize,
Sweetest smiles illumed her eyes.
    And, hey, lerry O!

From that moment my career
Lay thro' dells and dingles, where
Pleasure blossom'd out of pain—
Where joy sang her golden strain,
    Hey, hey, lerry O!



_______________________

The Oracle.


LO, the vision will vanish for ever,
    That gildeth this moment thy track;
And in vain were the noblest endeavour
    To call the enchantment back.

Yet pine not; a balm—an ovation
    Is thine in the thought, that the day
Will come when thy bleak desolation
    Will pass like thy vision away!



_______________________

The Rose of the Roses.


O THE rose, of the roses the glory,
    He placed in my bosom; and O!
The heart-thrilling story, the story
    He pour'd in my ear long ago.

Tho' yet by the dark feeling haunted,
    They were but a lure to a net
To ruin the heart they enchanted,
    Their magic I'll never forget!



_______________________

The Lethal Dart.


I TREMBLE like a wind-blown leaf;
    What then?  I've said the word I've said;
And what if he in pain and grief
    Should pine and pine till he be dead?

My pride is victor o'er his pride;
    And then—ah, yes! the dart I sped;
Now in its victim's heart-blood dyed,
    Returns to strike the striker dead!



_______________________

The Time Hath Been.


THE time hath been when they have laugh'd
    And danced, like them she laugh'd and danced;
That was ere his sweet vows she quaft,
    And wore the wreath, her heart entranced.

Those vows she proved a poison'd draught;
    That wreath a poison'd anadem;
And next when danced the rest and laugh'd,
    She laugh'd and danced—but not like them.



_______________________

The Elf.


IF thou wilt persist to ponder
    On the phantom fled,
Can there be a moment's wonder
    Thou art ill bested?

She who, robed in green so meetly,
    Blink'd on thee and smiled,
Fleetly came and went as fleetly—
    Was no mortal child.

She who sung to thee so sweetly,
    And to airs so wild,
Featly danced, still danced so featly—
    Was no mortal child.

Dream not on her tresses yellow;
    Elf yet only can
Be to elf a fitting fellow,
    Not to mortal man!



_______________________

Little Anna.


LITTLE Anna, young and fair,
    How with heart a-dancing,
I descry her image rare,
    O'er the footway glancing;
Ah, those locks of dusky hue!
    Ah, those eyes that twinkle!
Now I laugh their sheen to view,
    Now my tears down trinkle.

When I see her bonny blink,
    I'm upraised to heaven;
When upon her ways I think,
    From myself I'm driven;
Not a bit of use am I,
    Save, with arms a-kimbo,
Thus to sit and thus to sigh,
    A very wretch in limbo.

Up, from tossings, to and fro,
    Bite or sup unheeded,
Up from bed to work I go,
    Long before 'tis needed;
But a-pit, love a-smit,
    Do all I can do, now,
Still a-wry the pick will fly,
    And no coal will hew, now.

Can it be her voice I hear,
    When my pick is swinging?
When her tongue attracts the ear,
    Golden bells are ringing;
Do I dream? or is't her e'en
    Yonder nook adorning?
Blacker than the coal, their sheen
    Mocks the coal a-burning!

Ah, those locks, and ah, those eyes,
    Ah, the rest they've broken!
But in vain their victim tries,
    Love can ne'er be spoken;
Man may fathom ocean—say
    The reason of its motion;
But love's magic never! nay,
    'Tis deeper than the ocean.



_______________________

Cruel Anna.


LITTLE Anna, cruel elf,
    Spite of all my reason,
She yet puts me from myself
    In and out of season;
Ah, the may, ah, the fay,
    Glee to mischief wedded!
Foe to rest, she's a pest,
    And always to be dreaded!

Never goes the sun around,
    But upon me stealing,
She, she doth my soul confound,
    Sends my reason reeling;
Gars me sing, and while, alack,
    I in glee am singing,
On me turns and in a crack,
    Gives my ear a-wringing.

Pat she comes and goes, the wasp!
    Back anon she hummeth;
Round my neck her hands to clasp,
    That to do she cometh;
So she leads me to suppose
    By her air entrancing,
Till I'm twitted by the nose
    And again sent dancing.

Ear or nose, or wrung or stung,
    'Tween a thumb and finger,
How to be avenged now long
    Lost in doubt I linger;
Then when I resolved at last
    Rush her pride to humble;
Lo, o'er me a glamour cast,
    O'er the stools I tumble.

Head a-turned, heart a-burned,
    Nay, reduced to cinders;
Nose a-stung, ears a-wrung,
    Shins all sent to flinders;
Yale and thin, bone and skin—
    I'm a spectre merely;
And he who'd play my part might say
    He'd bought his whistle dearly.



_______________________

The Slippers.


TWO slippers in the morning red
    Along the footway flew;
Two slippers down the burnside sped,
    And lo, a sight to view!

Yon loath'd way now is my delight,
    And what was long and rough,
Is now as smooth as velvet quite,
    And far from long enough.

Yon bur, whose rudeness only earn'd
    From me a grunt or so,
Is to a golden lily turn'd,
    To charm me as I go.

Yon pebble, late but fit for feet
    To kick into the air,
Is now to me a jewel, meet
    For any queen to wear.

Yon runnel that was only heard
    A dreary noise to make,
Now pipes as sweetly as a bird,
    And pipes so for my sake!

"La, how comes this?"   That question—Tut!
    Who, who can answer?  Who?
Go, put it to the slippers, put!
    That down the footway flew.



_______________________

The Fairies' Adieu.


OUR revels now are ended, so good-night, so good-night,
    And each unto our chamber let us hie,
And there lose ourselves in visions till the broad daylight
    Again has bid adieu unto the sky.
                So good-bye
        Till day has gone out of the sky.

"My couch is in the daisy with its golden, golden eye;"
    "And mine is in the violet, sweet and pure;"
"And mine the modest blue bell, beneath whose canopy
    I dream away the angry day secure."
                So good-bye
        Till day has gone out of the sky.

But when the day's departed, upstarting from our dreams,
    We'll gather in a ring upon the green,
And there dance till night's enraptured, and the pale moon
        seems
    To mourn the fate that changeth such a scene!
                So good-bye
        Till day has gone out of the sky.



_______________________

The Minstrel.


AH, deem not when thy minstrel tunes
    His harp to hours and glories vanished,
His star of stars, his moon of moons,
    Can ever from his heart be banish'd.

Each tune he wakes, each note that takes
    And charms the heart, Love's arrow woundeth,
But flows from strings she only rings,
    And from a Deep she only soundeth.



_______________________

A Daffodil and Daisy.


DORNED in many a gem this morn,
    A daffodil without a peer,
I reared my head, and treat with scorn
    A one-pearl-gifted daisy near.

That very hour, lo! wind-a-rock'd,
    Was I left gemless evermore;
Nay, made to envy what I'd mock'd,
    That one sweet pearl the daisy wore.



_______________________

The Moth.


TO-NIGHT a gilded moth took wing,
    And round-a-round yon wax-light flew;
And, while his flight did her curing,
    He nearer to the dazzler drew.

"So fair art thou," he cried, "to view,
    I'd die upon thy lips to feed;"
And so must snatch a kiss and rue—
    Ah, he was murder'd for the deed!



_______________________

The Toast.


I'M as loyal a subject as Britain can boast;
    Our Queen she is gracious, and gentle, and wise;
But another this moment demandeth my toast,—
    'Tis Annie, the lass with the two hazel eyes.

The hair of my idol's a stream of delight,
    The lustre thereof with the aerolite vies;
Her dimpled cheeks apples, the pure red and white;
    But those are outshone by her two hazel eyes.

Her breasts are two hillocks of new-driven snow,
    Between them a dell of enchantment lies,
Where love lurks, the elf! with his quiver and bow;
    But these lack the charm of her two hazel eyes.

The golden-eyed lily but faintly displays
    The grace of her form, her demeanour, and guise;
A jewel is she in heart, language, and ways;
    But nothing car, equal her two hazel eyes.

I'm as loyal a subject as Britain can boast;
    Victoria's gentle, and gracious, and wise;
But another this moment demandeth my toast,—
    I drink to the lass with the two hazel eyes.



_______________________

Two Hazel Eyes.


AS ever a bard in such pitiful plight?
    Was ever such seen by yon stars in the skies?
A-pit or a-bed, by day and by night,
    I'm plagued by the magic of two hazel eyes.

A leaf in a whirlwind, I'm sent to and fro,
    And peace, panic-stricken, my bosom still flies;
For rest I implore, but my portion below
    Is the rest-killing magic of two hazel eyes.

The world it goes up, and the world it goes down,
    And the lofty descend, and the lowly arise;
But fortune, the jilter, may smile or may frown,
    I feel but the magic of two hazel eyes.

Once blithe as a linnet I lilted my lay,
    And won the applause of both foolish and wise—
Now deaf, dumb, derided, I go on my way,
    Bewitched by the magic of two hazel eyes.

O Annie, wouldst thou but look down on my plight,
    And pity my case, and no longer despise,
I'd dance in delight, I'd sing day and night,
    And the theme of my lays be thy two hazel eyes!



_______________________

My Shoulder You Pat!


MY shoulder you pat!   What would you be at?
    A bee's in your bonnet I think!
Away, goose, away! if Flit-a-Flirt may,
    Am I to be had at a wink?

There's many a youth the picture of truth,
    As hollow at heart as a pan;
And you—Well, take one, you rook, and begone!
    But another kiss steal, if you can!



_______________________

What, to Nowhere?


"WHAT, to Nowhere? ho, ho! that's to where I too go—
    What a Happy-go-Lucky am I,
Such a pearl to have found for my natal place bound!
    —Well, just leap up behind and let's fly!"

"La! proceed, sir, proceed; you are bound on a steed
    That will fly other-where than Nowhere;
Ah, you ride, need I tell, to a dark nook in—Well,
    Let me wish you a swift journey there!"



_______________________

The Kitten.


MISFORTUNE is a kitten, clearly
    Too fond of merriment, and will
Oft love, in her mad humour, dearly
    To plague the wretch she means to kill.

She'll seize him—pat—let go-and flatter
    His heart with hope, till lo! 'tis found
She'd only meant that hope to scatter—
    His hope and life at one fell bound.



_______________________

The Darling.


MISFORTUNE is a darling, ever
    Most faithful to the minstrel race;
Let low-bred wretches shun them, never
    Yet acted she a part so base.

True, oft by her the bard discovers
    He's stript of all he once possest;
But then, just like your sculpture-lovers,
    She likes her idols naked, best.



_______________________

The Breezelet.


CRIED Ciss to the breeze, as under the trees,
    She lay at her ease, one day,
"From thy rovings cease, and a maiden to please,
    Of thy doings, breeze, now say!"

"Be it so," sang he; "from the west I be,
    And wherever in glee I rove,
In lane or on lea, with the blooms I'm free,
    And they—ever me—they love.

"The primrose that well may tremble when yell
    The north winds fell, I press,
When lured by my spell, she peers from her cell,
    With a smile the dell to bless.

"The violet meek in her velvet sleek,
    In love with the freak, alway,
To my fancy weak appeareth to seek,
    When I play with her cheek, more play.

"The daisy a-drest in her blood-laced vest,
    In her deep green nest, I know,
When her lips I've prest, with a pleasure blest,
    Is her little breast a-glow.

"The glad daffodil oft dances her fill,
    As under the hill glide I,
And her pearly tears spill down into the rill,
    That yet with a trill leaps by.

"See, a fairy bold, her vesture of gold,
    The crocus unfold, in mirth,
And glories untold, where I've kist the mold
    Illumine the cold, cold earth."

Thus sang the breeze a maiden to please;
    And Ciss in the trees, that night,
To rapture a prey sang Robin the lay,
    When a kiss did the may requite.



_______________________

The Seaton Terrace Lass.


MY love at Seaton Terrace dwells,
    A hale and hearty wight,
Who lilts away the summer day,
    Also the winter night;
The merriest bird with rapture stirr'd,
    Could never yet surpass
The melody awaken'd by
    The Seaton Terrace lass '


Her like is not in hall or cot;
    And you would vainly pass
From Tweed to Wear for one to peer
    The Seaton Terrace lass.


She's graceful as a lily-wand,
    Right modest too is she,
And then ye'll search in vain the land
    To find a busier bee;
Like silver clear her iron gear,
    Like burnished gold, the brass—
For tidiness there's none to peer
    The Seaton Terrace lass.


Her like is not, etc.


She'll knit or sew, she'll bake or brew—
    She'll wash the clothes so clean,
The very daisy pales beside
    Her linen on the green;
Then what she'll do, with ease she'll do,
    And still her manner has
A charm would gar a stoic woo
    The Seaton Terrace lass.


Her like is not, etc.


When day is past and night at last
    Begins to cloud the dell,
She'll take her skiel and out she'll steal,
    And meet me at the well;
Then, oh! how fleet the moments sweet—
    Yet fleeter shall they pass,
That night the Pebside laddie weds
    The Seaton Terrace lass.


Her like is not in hail or cot,
    And vainly would you pass
From Tweed to Wear for one to peer
    The Seaton Terrace lass.



_______________________

Lotty Hay.


AS I came down from Earsdon Town,
    Upon an Easter day,
Whom did I meet but she, the sweet,
    The blue-eyed Lotty Hay.

A crimson blush her cheek did flush,
    Nor sin did that betray;
The pearl is sure a jewel pure,
    And so is Lotty Hay.

All evil flees her heart, yet she's
    To Slander oft a prey,
And words of ill do nearly kill
    The lowly Lotty Hay.

Some deem her proud; in speech aloud
    Some other yet will say
She's cold or fierce, and all to pierce
    The heart of Lotty Hay.

Proud?—She's not proud: to-day I view'd
    A lammie near her stray,
And that wee thing kind blinks did bring
    From soft-eyed Lotty Hay.

Fierce?—She's not fierce; a fly did pierce—
    Once pierce her wee hand, nay
And made her cry, yet that bad fly
    Was spared by Lotty Hay.

Not proud nor bold, not fierce nor cold,
    But meek, kind, mild alway—
A soul of light did meet my sight
    As I pass'd Lotty Hay.

Upon her way so went the may,
    And light as any fay,
Or thistle-down by breezes blown,
    Went wee, wee Lotty Hay.

In cotton gown she tript to town,
   And not a lady gay
In satin drest could be more blest
    Than little Lotty Hay.



_______________________

The Golden Bowl.

1.

THE BOWL.


JUST let the Owl of Evil howl!
    To mourners of each rank and station,
I cry, Come, troll the Golden Bowl,
    And quaff with me a deep potation!

Each sparkling droplet to the soul
    Will yield o'er Care a bright ovation;
Then seize and troll the Golden Bowl,
    That beams—in my imagination!


2.

HAG NIGHT.


LA, what a night!  The hag has sworn,
    In hue to prove a chimla sweeper:
And did the North not blow his horn,
    No star would dare to show its peeper.

How black her look!—(Just like the rook
   That on my idol's brow appeareth,
When quite o'ercome with wrath she's dumb,
    And not a blink her booby cheereth!)


3.

UNCOUTH THINGS.


"I HATE outlandish things, and own
    I've little liking for the sonnet;
'Tis for a lazy Muse, and one
    Who hath a bumler in her bonnet.

"'Tis a humdrum song, and tho' not long,
    I'd sooner be a kitten, sooner,
And 'Mew!' cry 'Mew!' than listen to
    The ordinary sonnet crooner!"


4.

TOO TRUE.


TRUTH'S words are oft so very true—
    And always when my lips he uses,
His foes, which, let us hope, are few,
    Declare he but the truth abuses.

Thus when he spake of Ella's tongue,
    She knew he meant the tongue of Fable;
And when of her sweet deeds he sung,—
    She kick'd his shins beneath the table.


5.

EXTREME KINDNESS.


WHEN I would laugh a little at
    The follies that in Life aboundeth,
What ails the saint I worship, that
    She with a frown my spirit woundeth?

Is laughter sin? ah, then full well
    I see she'd here but curb my laughter,
And steep me in the heart of hell,
    To save me from its lips hereafter.


6.

STEEDS AND THEIR RIDERS.


DON'T spur us so: you'll ever find,
    When you will ride at giddy paces,
There's always something in the wind,
    At which ere long you'll twist your faces.

What, we're but steeds whom no one recks?
    Then spur us till we're sores all over:
The sooner you have smash'd your necks,
    The sooner we'll have gone to clover!


7.

THE WITCH-GLASS.


A SYREN, with her mirror bright,
    His ear enchants; and while he listens,
His image on his dazzled sight,
    A very jewel gleams and glistens.

Ah, could he peer into yon brook,
    Or into any heart that knows him,
He'd find the thing that met his look
    Was not the pearl the Witch-Glass shows him!


8.

NOT THE BIRD.


HE'S not the bird I took him for—
    I heard him in the distance screaming,
And tho' his voice was harsh, that hour,
    I dream'd of glories, golden, gleaming!

This hour he meets my closer view;
    And tho' he cuts as big a swagger,
I find a little cockatoo,
    And not a peacock, in the bragger!


9.

DAME MALICE.


DAME MALICE reigns the Queen of hags;
    With wink and whisper, nod and chatter,
She trots along, and never fags,
    While she has scandal-seeds to scatter.

Then when her seeds are poison-weeds,
    That choke the corn and spoil the labours
Of king or clown, her feats to crown,
    She'll dance a reelet with her neighbours!


10.

RUMOUR.


ELF RUMOUR?   Ay, the airy fay
    That treads the air unseen by any;
From town to town her bugle's blown,
    And merry are her pranks, and many.

Her news our ears now charm, our fears
    Now stir, as with a clap of thunder,
And while we cry out, What? she'll fly,
    With Laughter at her heels, and Wonder.


11.

THE CRITICS.


I LIKE the darling critics—like?
    O, how upon their work I linger,
When they their weapons use to strike,
    Not me, but some less happy singer.

The treasure of their venom-bags
    So finely on the bard's expended,
One half-forgets the little wags
    Were from a scorpion-race descended!


12.

THE PETITION.


DEAR critics, pray, what have I done
    That thus you frown so? tell me truly?
"You've for your neck a halter spun,
    In blaming of our race unduly! "

Don't hang me, pray!—Just praise my lay,
    And I will swear the Muse but garbled
My sweet intent; and what was meant
    Was not the blame the Gipsy warbled!


13.

JUST THE WAY.


WAS ever wretch in such a plight?
    I scramble on I know not whither!
The witches are abroad to-night;
    Some wicked one has led me hither!

"That's just like you, you'll have your cue,
    And when hood-wink'd you kiss the ditches,
Your hair you tear! your Muse forswear!
    And blame and ban the wicked witches! "


14.

JUST SO.


JUST let the Owl of Evil howl!
    To mourners of each rank and station, I cry,
Come, troll the Golden Bowl,
    And quaff with me a deep potation!

Each sparkling droplet to the soul
    Will yield o'er Care a bright ovation;
Then seize and troll the Golden Bowl,
    That beams—in my imagination!



_______________________

The Merry Bee.


A GOLDEN bee a-cometh
    O'er the mere, glassy mere,
And a merry tale he hummeth
    In my ear.

How he seized and kist a blossom,
    From its tree, thorny tree,
Pluck'd and placed in Annie's bosom,
    Hums the bee!



_______________________

The Wilted Leaf.


WILTED is the leaf, and blown
    By the cold wind up and down,
That beheld thy promise fair,
    Maiden with the dark-brown hair!

Shatter'd is this heart, and hurl'd
    By its grief-storm thro' the world,
Since it won that promise rare,
    Maiden with the dark-brown hair.



_______________________

The Charmer.


A SONG in devotion I sing to my Annie—
    Ah! be startled not to discover I long
To fold in my arms and possess what so many
    And many a time is the theme of my song.

My manhood's dissolved at the sight of thy beauty,
    And while heart can feel and such beauty is known,
What youth could be kept by a mere sense of duty
    From yearning to call the enchanter his own?

The saint he may blame—so to do is the fashion—
    And carp at my feelings and call them a sin;
Could beauty like thine be the price of his passion,
    He'd rush to perdition the jewel to win.

To view thy locks blacker than coal and thy glances;
    To hear thy voice, sweetest of music—ay, ay—
Thy manifold beauty my spirit entrances,
    And reason deserts me when Annie is nigh!



_______________________

The Question.


WHAT can he ail? I hear them ask;
    And what can make his cheek so pale?
Ah, that to answer were a task
    For which no effort could avail;
To say I love were but to say
    What many another might as well,
Who never felt the cruel sway
    Which makes my heart with sorrow swell.

Dear are the pains of love and sweet,
    Yet he who loves, and loves in vain,
Endures a torment more complete
    Than any love-unsweetened pain,
Nay, keener than the savage fangs
    Which limb from limb their victim tear,
And much more cruel are the pangs
    Which drive a lover to despair.

With feelings racked, without a spark
    Of hope to give those feelings rest,
The darksome grave is not so dark
    As is the chaos in his breast:
The brightest hour that comes and goes
    Might just as well be dull as bright,
His grief o'er all a shadow throws,
    That hides the splendour from his sight.

Unmoved he eyes the sun arise,
    Yea, doth without a thrill behold
The sun down go at ev'ning, tho'
    He settles in a sea of gold:
The sweetest flower of field or bower,
    The brightest star by night revealed,
To him's not rare, nor sweet, nor fair,
    For him no joyous beam can yield.

The tempest swells and roars and yells,
    Uptears and heaves to earth the oak;
The lightnings flash, the death-bolts crash,
    And cities wrap in flame and smoke:
Let thunder crash, and lightnings flash,
    And bid him perish as they can;
The storm he hears no death-dart bears
    Like that which makes his life a ban.

O'er all he sees, o'er all he hears,
    The raven shades of woe are cast;
And all his hopes, delights, and fears
    Are now but phantoms of the past;
The past, the present, future, ay,
    To all he's dead and cold, except
The worm that eats the heart away,
    Wherein yet Peace her vigils kept.

He wanders wide of human haunts,
    What others do he little recks;
Their very sympathy or taunts
    Can little soothe, can little vex;
Where'er he moves, where'er he turns,
    One, but one image meets his ken;
For that he yearns and pines and mourns,
    And yearns and mourns for that in vain.

Away! away with questions which
    No mortal yet could answer—nay,
My pangs are far beyond the pitch
    Of seraph-tongue or pen to say;
To speak of love were but to speak
    Of what another might, whose heart
Was never forced like mine to break,
    Yet while it breaks to hide the smart!



_______________________

The Broken Spell.


COME sing me the song that once gilded my gloom,
    And the heart unsubdued till that moment subdued,
That with its red rose caused the rose-tree to bloom,
    That long year after year without blossoms had stood.

With thy hand on my hand, and thy cheek by my cheek,
    In thy wild and weird tones be that lay again sung,
And the bleak world to me shall no longer be bleak,
    And this bosom by anguish no longer be wrung.

Then over thy grace shall thy voice throw a grace;
    And that image which long had its home in my breast,
Be robed in a splendour no other displays,
    And possest of a charm by no other possest.

Than its red, shall thy lip then a richer dye show,
    And with beams brighter still shall thy hazel eyes
            burn;
And thy beauty, deep down in my spirit, shall glow,
    And my life to a drop of pure ecstasy turn.

Shall the boon then be mine? shall that music reward
    Thus the faith of a heart that yet leapt at its strain?
Ah, broken's the spell of that song I oft heard,
    And so-so thro' thy dark guile to me shall remain!



_______________________

Ah! canst thou forget?


AH! canst thou forget the hour when we met
    At the oak where the four lanes meet?
And madly I prest thy form to my breast,
    And my heart 'gainst thy heart did beat?

The moon hid her light in sorrow that night,
    While the owl in his grimmest mood
Cried "Whoo!" as I quaft in rapture a draught
    That a fiend for the nonce had brewed!



_______________________

Lo! Never a Man.


LO! never a man since the world began,
    Would bear what her victim hath borne;
And all he can gain for his toil and pain
    Is a look or a word of scorn.

She dances a tune that a hag would croon
    When she erst o'er my pathway glanced;
And laughs in her sleeves at the heart she grieves;
    But she'll weep when the dance is danced!



_______________________

In the Wild Grove.


IN the wild grove we wander'd,
    And gay garlands made,
When ill-wise we ponder'd
    On words in jest said.

And words, in jest spoken,
    The garlands we wove,
And our two hearts had broken,
    Ere we left the grove.



_______________________

A Remembrance.


I STRAY 'neath a moon
    In a blood-red cloud;
And my heart to a tune
    Is beating aloud—

Aloud to a tune,
    One, now in her shroud,
Sang to me 'neath a moon
    In a blood-red cloud.



_______________________

No More Roses.


NO more roses!   He that's gone
    Was a star to look upon;
And come weal or woe, yet one
    He'll so be to Dora!

Many women say of men,
    Barely one is true in ten—
Who will he remember when
    He's away from Dora?

When with blooms he wreathed my brow,
    Made he not a certain vow?
Will he think upon it, now
    He's afar from Dora?

Fairer forms he'll see than mine;
    Eyes as black and yet more fine—
Will they not his heart incline
    To forget his Dora?

What to think, I do not know;
    Yet I love and love him so,
In my hair no rose shall glow
    Unplucked by him for Dora!



_______________________

The Golden Bird.


I WILL not hear one cruel word,
Or how he sinn'd, or how he err'd;
He's yet to me the golden bird
        He ever was to Dora!

I met him on the street to-day,
In haste to meet my rival gay;
He turn'd from me his face away!
        —Yet, yet he's dear to Dora.

Into a floral shop he went,
I knew too well with what intent;
Ah, not for me the wreath was meant!
        —Yet, yet he's dear to Dora.

While I sit here a weary wight,
He with my foe, to her delight,
Will dance his bridal dance to-night!
        —Yet, yet he's dear to Dora.

My heart is rent: he's sore to blame;
Yet blame him not, or kindly blame;
I cannot hear a word would shame
        The golden bird of Dora!



 

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